Tag Archives: Videogames

The Arcades of Japan Though Pictures

What is it about an arcade that just makes one come alive with youthful spirit? Is it the bright lights glaring off glass monitors. The buzzing and beeping electrical sounds that loop endlessly throughout the air, aggressive on the ear drums, but rememberable long after you leave. And oh yeah – the games are also pretty fun to play.

Arcades were the birth place of the gaming community, or at least where most people, myself included, who began their interest in videogames, started out. On a Friday or Saturday, you and a couple of your friends would journey on out to your local mall or pizza joint, and begin a long night of quarter-spending amusement. And whether that night ended with you wasting all your weekly allowance, or getting your rear-end beat thoroughly at Street Fighter II, it was still a fulling experience.

Turn now to 2010, and the Arcade experience is rare and limited one. Where the only places left to go seek such a thing is at a place that serves beer and buffalo wings. And even there the choices are slim pickings; unless you like racing simulators. (Of which I do, but that neither here or there.)

No, perhaps the only lasting presence of what a true arcade feels like is still kept alive by our friends in Japan. There, multi-storied buildings dedicated to spending your saved up quarters (or in this case Yen¥) on fighting games, 2D-based shooters, or whatever genre your heart’s desire are in quite abundance. You can play modern games to even classic machines, that should have their own display at a Smithsonian’ exhibit, are all there for your enjoyment.

In Japan, arcades populate in places where commuters are in high numbers. This is how the arcade scene there is kept alive, by people, who after a busy day at work, kill some stress for an hour or two before going home.  And while that trend today has been steadily going down hill, forcing some arcades to close in numbers, the state of things over in Japan are at least better than here in the states where arcades are pretty much extinct.

It sounds like a true gamer’s paradise, and it is, or at least that’s how it looks like. But sadly you have to either 1) Live in Japan, or 2) cross the Pacific just to take an active part in. Always a catch… always a catch.

Well thankfully a NeoGaf user, by the name of DCharlie, has uploaded a hearty sum of pictures he/she has taken of arcades in Japan, and has blessed us poor souls by sharing them with us. And when I mean a hearty sum, I mean it; this gallery has a large variety of images taken from Club Sega in Akihabara (Anime nerd central of  Tokyo, Japan) to the legendary Shibuya Kaikan Monaco arcade near the Shibuya Station in Tokyo.

What I love the most though, is that the overall collection of photographs isn’t just a slide show of arcades, but also of living life in a city as unique as Tokyo. So thanks to DCharlie for allowing us a peek into his world, and some awesome arcades too.

Collection: Arcades of Japan – DCharlie

The Stories From GameFan Magazine

During the time when I was but a young boy beginning his interest in videogames, there were only a few magazines my grubby hands would reach for. There was Electronic Gaming Magazine, GamePro, Tips & Tricks, and if I was still thirsty for knowledge, GameFan.

It was fantastic to just run to the newsstand section of my local bookstore and open any issue, skim through the boring text (hey I was kid, I didn’t know any better,) and glare lovingly at the videogame screenshots. With out the internet, publications like these were your only friend in finding out the latest news and information.

Now GameFan was a particular interesting magazine for me. Which is code for; I don’t remember much of it. I’m sure somewhere along the way I picked it up, gave it a good look through, and went on my merry way. Perhaps back then I personally just didn’t get a lasting feel form the magazine.

It wasn’t until I was older to retrospect, that I had found out how beloved GameFan was and the number of followers it had gain during its time. I also learned, unfortunately, of its insane behind the scenes tales that rivaled almost any story from a university frat house.

GameFan was started by both Dave Halverson and Tim Lindquist back in 1992 and it was originally called Die Hard GameFan Magazine. And to that extent, it was very much that; a magazine that served its hardcore audience well. It not only intensely covered domestic games, but Japanese imports too. The publication even incorporated some talk about the soon to be popular Anime culture.

One striking feature to the magazine, was the great quality of the paper used that produced crisp colorful screenshots of the games. The screenshots just looked so spot-on when compared to their actual on-screen sources. This was a testament of the staff’s deep passion to videogames, and could be easily felt when they held a Gamefan issue.

While those qualities above are special, and a good reason for GameFan’s loyal following, it’s not worth much anything if all you do is screw if up by making management gaff after management gaff. The most infamous of these within the industry, is a specific issue where an offending racial epithet was somehow printed in one of its reviews.

But that was only the tip of iceberg, at least not behind closed doors. When the publication wasn’t slacking off in the editorial department, like writing articles while on acid, it was stealing money from company payroll just to acquire a Sonic the Hedgehog statue, or most erroneously, have its staff work without getting hardly paid.

All these lovely (and I mean that sarcastically) behind the scenes stories, from actual former staff members of GameFan, can be read over at The Next Level Forum. There an ex-GameFan writer began a thread to gather up information for what was to become a Wiki-article about the magazine, but then quickly ended up as a slight pissing-on party for one Dave Halverson (the guy who stole payroll money to buy that Sonic the Hedgehog statue.)

Not all of the stories in the thread are degrading, in fact most have some interesting insights into the history of GameFan, such as the inaugural cover art. Some other stories will also have you laughing from your chair as they are just absurd and unbelievable to read.

Truth be told, it was mid-way through my reading that I felt a bit warmed by the stories being told. Yeah, some of the former employees sound quiet vengeful against a certain person,  but aside that, there is a youthful passion. I could tell that the former staffers of GameFan really had a strong love for videogames, and they wanted nothing more but to see their publication become something big. It’s just sad that an awful management had to ruin such a dream.

I’ve gone through the trouble of finding some of the amusing and outlandish tales for you above. But for others, I humbly request you try to read though the entire thread – it is a long read, but it’s worth it just for the enticing knowledge spread throughout.

The GameFan History Thread [The Next Level Forums]

Pictures credited to Wikipedia.

Somehow I Forgot to Mention This…

OBG turned one this month. Check out our first post:

Well, Jay here.  I figured I would start a free blog.  Just for fun.  It will let me get my thoughts on the gaming biz out, and all that other great stuff.

Enjoy!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 at 2:26 AM and is filed under Uncategorized.

A Look an Super Mario Galaxy 2’s Latest Power-up

Mario Cloud

This shows a cloud Mario. Not much word on how it works, but it looks like players can build platforms out of clouds to help reach higher points in an area.

via Broke My Controller

Wow, More People That I Thought Are Familiar with ESRB Ratings

Hmmm. Better than I had imagined. I once worked at a GameStop for about a year, and this seemed to be far from the case.

Activision Survey Reveals 82% of Parent Gamers and 75% of Children are Familiar with the ESRB Video Game Rating System

–70% of Parent Gamers Use the Ratings When Purchasing a Game –Video Games Are ‘Most Preferred’ Entertainment Choice Among Survey Respondents

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan 14, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ — According to a national survey released today by The Harrison Group and Activision Publishing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), 82% of parent gamers and 75% of children are familiar with the ESRB rating system.

Additionally, 63% of parents with children who play games consider themselves gamers with the number increasing to 83% for parents ages 35 and younger, and 70% of parents pay close attention to the ratings when purchasing a game for themselves or their families.

The survey was conducted by The Harrison Group as part of Activision’s “Ratings Are Not a Game(R)” educational initiative and focused on the awareness and influence of the ESRB rating system on both children and their parents.

Other key survey findings include:

Gamers devote 32% of their leisure time to entertainment with video games accounting for the largest share — approximately 19%.
76% of parents agree that video games are a part of their family’s life, and are something they’re very comfortable with.
Among parent gamers, 52% of their video gaming playing time is spent with their children.
Approximately 62% of parents conduct research before purchasing a video game that their child wants.
“Parents rely on and value the ESRB ratings in helping them decide which games to allow their children to play,” said Mike Griffith, President and CEO of Activision Publishing. “Our ‘Ratings Are Not A Game’ education initiative underscores our commitment to helping parents better understand and utilize the ratings system as they select age appropriate games and determine the best way for the entire family to enjoy the gaming experience.”

Activision’s “Ratings Are Not A Game” educational initiative focuses on educating consumers about the ESRB’s rating system and helping parents make informed decisions about the video games their families play. The company recently partnered with Dr. Cheryl Olson, co-director for the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital, to produce a series of videos that help parents optimize children’s experiences with video games. These videos as well as additional resources for parents are available at http://www.activision.com/RatingsAreNotAGame.

Methodology

For the Activision ESRB ratings survey, 1,201 online interviews were conducted among a nationally-representative group of video game players ages 6 to 44 and their parents. The research was conducted by the Harrison Group, a strategic marketing consulting and research services firm (www.harrisongroupinc.com).